July 7th, 2015
Thank you for all the advice and help that you offer on your site. I am thinking of upgrading my computer system. I currently have Windows but know that most photographers use Apple. I really have two questions:
1. Even though I am heavily invested in PC. Should I consider for the long term, switching to Apple?
2. I would like to know the ultimate system in either, or both – the best and fastest – considering operating systems, memory, RAM, Graphics Cards, and Storage, also something that would be expandable in the future.
As a real estate photographer your computing gear is important. Think about it and research what’s the best for you and don’t cheap out. Before I give you my opinion on this subject I should explain my background and biases. Everyone is biased. There is no one right answer but here is mine:
- I’m an long time Apple fan-boy: I purchased a Apple II in 1976 when it first came out and have had one of almost every Apple product since.
- I’m also a long time Windows user: Since I spent 35 years at Boeing during an era when Windows was the only corporate alternative. I also used Windows at home from the early 1990s to 2009. My wife still uses Windows and I keep her system running… it tries my patience daily!
- I’ve been a system software developer for most of my life so I look at the world from that point of view. I have little patience for bad design.
- Vista sent me to Apple in 2009: I used Windows in my home business (blog and real estate photography) until I needed a new machine in 2009. After looking at Vista which shipped on Windows hardware at the time, I moved to Apple and have been there ever since.
As a photographer and a independent business person I don’t want to minimize the time I spend fussing with hardware and system software. I want the stuff to just work and be well designed. Apple hardware does that. It is beautifully designed, integrated and it just works.
In my opinion Microsoft has had two world class system software disasters Vista and Windows 8. The jury is still out on Windows 10. I’m to the point I can no longer forgive Microsoft for continually botching the design of their operating system. Sure windows hardware is cheaper but life is too short to deal with badly designed system software!
Here is my recommended configuration for a photographer (assumes the intensive use of Lightroom and Photoshop):
- 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display – Quad-core I7 with 16Gb RAM 1 TB fusion drive + 512 Flash drive… just under $3,000
- 27-inch Thunderbolt display (for a second display) – $999
I have a several year old version of the above and have a MacBook Pro for travel and backup.
Update July 10, 2015: I just ran across a year old article in Fortune that points out that in the second quarter 2014 Mac sales grew 18% year over year while PC sales shrank 2%. There is a lot of speculation on what all the factors are that are driving this. One of course is everyone is waiting for Windows 10. The second quarter of 2015 (with Windows 10 just launching) should show that.
I’m sure others will give you their points of view.